Police evacuate caravan park in Co Down due to fire
Emergency services attend scene of ‘large fire’ at Tollymore Forest near Newcastle
Police on Easter Sunday night were evacuating a caravan park near Newcastle, Co Down.
Emergency services late on Sunday were at the scene of what police described as a “large fire” at Tollymore Forest near Newcastle.
Police asked the public to avoid the Tullybrannigan Road and Bonny’s Caravan Park near the forest.
“Anyone already at the caravan park should leave immediately,” they said.
People at the scene said the fire spread rapidly and that it appeared to be about a mile (1.6km) in diameter.
The Newcastle leisure centre on the promenade in the town, which is run by the local council, was especially opened late on Sunday for anyone who needed shelter.
Fire crews were working late into the night to try to get the blaze under control.
Eight appliances and more than 50 firefighters were involved in tackling the fire.
As well as people forced to leave the caravan park, residents in houses in the area also had to leave their homes.
A number of buses were brought to the area to assist with moving people.
Jim Beattie, who was on Tullybrannigan Road when the fire broke out and has a caravan in Bonny’s Caravan Park, told the BBC that the fire had spread so quickly it was “unbelievable”.
“It was at the edge of the house here when it diverted and there are at least five fire crews here that I can see and they are starting to evacuate the homes,” he said.
“We don’t know where people are being told to go,” said Mr Beattie.
“There is no sense of panic but residents are naturally concerned and haven’t been told where to go, simply to get out. It is really raging now,” he added.